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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/interventions/family-court-orders/tamariki-and-rangatahi-with-family-court-orders-in-place/
Printed: 18/07/2024
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Last updated: 10/01/2024

Tamariki and rangatahi with Family Court orders in place

If whānau or family have differing views about how to care for tamariki or rangatahi, or have experienced family violence, they may apply for Family Court orders. We consider any orders in place when we work with tamariki, rangatahi and whānau or family.

Types of Family Court orders

Parenting order (section 48 of the Care of Children Act 2004 – CoCA)

A parenting order outlines the day-to-day care and contact arrangements for te tamaiti or rangatahi and can be made in favour of one or more parents or caregivers.

Day-to-day care (custody)

Day-to-day care arrangements outline who te tamaiti or rangatahi lives with (either full time or part time) and who is responsible for their daily upbringing. If there is no parenting order in place, day-to-day care is usually shared between the parents.

Contact (access)

The parenting order also specifies if:

  • contact arrangements are in place
  • any terms or conditions apply – this could include a requirement for contact to be supervised.

Guardianship order (section 27 of the Care of Children Act 2004– CoCA)

The mother of te tamaiti or rangatahi is a natural guardian unless her guardianship is removed. The father is a natural guardian if he is named on the birth certificate or other circumstances apply. The Family Court is able to appoint another person as an additional guardian of te tamaiti or rangatahi.

Who can be a guardian | Ministry of Justice

If a person is a natural or court-appointed guardian of te tamaiti or rangatahi, they are responsible for decisions about the name, education, religion and medical treatment of te tamaiti or rangatahi and where te tamaiti or rangatahi lives. If there is more than one guardian and they can't agree on these decisions, they can apply to the Family Court for a decision to be made.

Protection order (section 60 of the Family Violence Act 2018)

The Family Court can make a protection order to protect the person who applies (and any tamariki and rangatahi who live with them) from any form of family violence by the person the order is made against. Family violence includes physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse.

A protection order does not allow contact between the parties unless the protected person named in the order suspends the no-contact condition by giving consent to contact. The protected person may reinstate the no-contact condition at any time by cancelling their consent to contact.

Protection Order advice or report

Adoption order (section 3 of the Adoption Act 1955)

An adoption order is made when the adoptive applicants apply to become the legal parents and guardians of te tamaiti or rangatahi. An adoption order removes the legal bond between te tamaiti or rangatahi and their birthparents.

Whāngai is the Māori tradition of tamariki or rangatahi being raised by someone other than their birthparents. This is arranged directly between the birthparents and mātua whāngai (the whānau who will raise te tamaiti or rangatahi.) This is not the same as an adoption order and does not involve the Family Court.
Whāngai | Govt.nz

Working with tamariki and rangatahi when Family Court orders are in place

When we are working with tamariki or rangatahi, we need to be aware of any Family Court orders that are in place and understand what they mean.

We cannot override any decisions made by the Family Court or advise anyone to breach a Family Court order. It is an offence to intentionally breach a parenting order without a reasonable excuse. The penalties may include a fine or imprisonment.

When we receive a report of concern for a tamaiti or rangatahi, we consider the concerns raised in the report of concern and the need for assessment even if there are Family Court orders in place or applications before the Family Court.

If we determine that the concerns reported to us require a statutory response, we decide on the timeframe to complete the safety and risk screen and the appropriate response pathway.

If we determine that the concerns reported to us do not require a statutory response, we can advise the person reporting the concerns to seek legal advice.

Intake decision response tool

If we are organising a family meeting, hui ā-whānau or family group conference, we need to consider any Family Court orders that are in place and make sure we act in accordance with them.

When holding a family group conference, it is not a breach of a protection order if the person who the order is made against attends. This does not affect the ability of a family group conference coordinator to decide that the attendance of a person is not in the best interests of te tamaiti or rangatahi or is undesirable.
Standard no-contact condition: other exceptions – section 96 of the Family Violence Act 2018
Persons entitled to attend family group conference – section 22 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989

If we determine that the Family Court orders in place are no longer in the best interests of te tamaiti or rangatahi, we consult with Legal Services. Any orders that are made placing tamariki or rangatahi in the care or custody of the chief executive override any existing Family Court orders that are in place.

Policy: Family Court